WASHINGTON (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates has long said he wants to ensure a smooth transition at the Pentagon with the Obama administration, but it may be a while before some of the big secrets are revealed to the new team.
Gates will have his first substantive meeting with members of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team Thursday to discuss key issues the new administration will face as it comes into office.
But CNN has learned that the Obama transition team will not immediately be provided classified information on current military operations and plans, certain National Security Council matters, intelligence programs and future DOD budget plans for the time being, under the terms of a memo sent to senior DOD officials by Gates' top aide.
CNN has obtained a copy of the three-page memo, sent to all top department civilian and military officials November 19 by aide Robert Rangel.
It outlines what can and cannot be shared at this point with Obama's transition staff.
According to the memo, until there is "further guidance," there will be no disclosure of "sensitive information" in the following categories: "current military operations; special access programs; pre-decisional budget information; contingency operations/plans; personnel records; privileged and other legally protected information; competition sensitive information; and active National Security Council policy deliberations."
Other classified information can only be provided to transition team members who have appropriate security clearances. CNN has confirmed that at least six of the Obama transition officials have been granted interim security clearances that give them access to so-called "sensitive compartmented information."
SCI clearances are one of the highest levels of clearances in order to control access to especially sensitive information.
Meanwhile, there is still no word on whether Gates is being asked to stay on the job by the president-elect or whether he would stay if asked.